The Monster of Dread End… Classic Comic Comes to Life!
The Monster of Dread End… Classic Comic Comes to Life!
A campaign to finance a “pitch package” for the purpose of funding a feature film based on the classic horror comic by John Stanley.
A campaign to finance a “pitch package” for the purpose of funding a feature film based on the classic horror comic by John Stanley. Read more
A Campaign to Finance a “Pitch Package” For the Purpose of Funding a Full Feature Film
HELP! THE MONSTER OF DREAD END IS LOOSE!!!
Well, not yet… But with your help it will be soon. Having completed the enormous project of designing the updated deluxe reprint edition of the 3-volume hardcover book set Ray Harryhausen - Master of the Majicks (itself the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign), I’m ready to plunge into a new, exciting film project. During the period of this campaign I’ll be able to finalize the last technical details on the Harryhausen books in order to get the Dread End pitch package underway.
THE SCARIEST HORROR COMIC OF ALL TIME!
The Monster of Dread End was written by John Stanley and illustrated by Ed Robbins for Dell Comics’ Ghost Stories #1 in 1962 and has been described as, “Utterly terrifying! The stuff of nightmares.” This story was voted “The scariest horror comic of all time” by Scary For Kids and among “The Top 10 Scariest Horror Comic Stories” by Awake at Midnight.
For years I wanted to bring this story to the screen. I was delighted to discover recently that a number of my associates – all professional filmmakers – share my passion for this story and remember and respect this comic as the scariest thing we’d ever read.
The challenge was taking a very short story and successfully expanding it to a feature length film. Now, after a lot of pencil-to-paper hard work, I’ve developed a concept that captures the moody horror and dark dread of John Stanley’s story while being faithful to the original (a quality sometimes lost in big-screen adaptions of books or comics).
I invite you to join us as we unleash the “fright of their life” on worldwide audiences!
THE ORIGINAL STORY
(THE NIGHTMARE BEGINS…)
Long empty of human life, the dark, decaying tenements of Dread End stare silently across at each other as though still frozen in horror at the memory of the frightful scenes they alone had been witness to…
It’s 1962. Time was when Dread End, then known as Hawthorn Place, was a busy, noisy, happy street that echoed the sound of children’s laughter. Then early one morning the first one was found. It was a balled-up thing, like an empty wrapper thrown carelessly aside, but somehow still recognizable as having been human…
After dark no one ever dared venture into even the outer fringes of this no-man’s land, let alone the very center of it.
Though only seven when his little sister became the first victim of the Dread End monster, Jimmy White resolved that if the police didn’t find her killer, some day he would. Now, at the age of 15, Jimmy feels he is old enough to ferret the monster out.
Crouched in the shadows of an alley, Jimmy begins his lonely and fearful vigil. Jimmy stands up to stretch… then quickly crouches back into the shadows. He stares, unable to believe his eyes!
Slowly, a giant claw-like hand, followed by a thick, sinuous, lizard-like arm slithers out of the manhole. Slowly, like a blind boa constrictor searching for something, the hand gropes its way across the street… and up the side of a wall…
To Jimmy’s relief, it turns and gropes its way out of sight.
Then a sixth sense warns Jimmy—
But it’s too late! The monster has found him! Like a rattler the claw strikes—
Suddenly a shattering series of explosions tear the night apart.
BOOM! BAM! BAM! BAM! POW! POW! POW! KAK-KAK-KAK!
Jimmy opens his eyes and stares down at the great limp claw. A phalanx of armed police and army soldiers converge on the shattered remains of the tentacled claw, their pistols, machine guns and bazookas still smoking from the barrage.
The Police Chief rushes over to Jimmy. “Are you all right? Sorry we had to let it go so far, but we wanted as much of it out in the open as possible, to make sure.”
Bewildered, Jimmy stammers, “You… you knew it was there, too?” “Yes,” replies the Chief. “We’d seen it a few times, but it never came out far enough. Its sense of danger was so acute and its speed so lightning-like we didn’t want to risk only wounding it and letting it get away.”
THE FEATURE FILM
(THE NIGHTMARE CONTINUES…)
The original story becomes Act 1 of the feature screenplay. Flash forward 15 years to find Jimmy, now 30, experiencing recurring nightmares about the creature. Haunted by the incident, he becomes obsessed: somehow his sister may still be alive. The origin of the creature was never resolved, and Jimmy becomes determined to go back and solve the mystery. Accompanied by a select group of friends, he returns to Dread End and they descend into the abyss beneath the city to encounter unspeakable horrors…
(Feature film story and screenplay copyright ©2017 Ernest Farino, Registered, Writers Guild.)
“One of the greatest horror comics of all time with one of the best monsters in any scary comic book—ever.” — E.M. Tonner, Foul Play! The Best Horror Comic Stories Ever, January 31, 2010.
“The very basic primal fear that from beneath our streets an ancient force can pluck us out of our beds when we are most vulnerable. Perfectly embodied by the huge reptilian hand that rises from the sewers and reaches into the bedrooms of sleeping children.” — Jasper Bark, What Makes a Comic Scary?, This is Horror, 2012.
“We had to read a story aloud in my 7th grade English class in 1962 and I chose The Monster of Dread End. The class was spellbound, and my teacher congratulated me for reading a story that no one talked through. I’ve never forgotten this story.” — Topanga, The Horrors of It All, A Celebration of Comic Book Horror, November 5, 2014.
OUR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN
Who doesn’t like a good monster movie? The horror film genre has been a reliable, stable genre for decades and the right combination of story, cast and production values – produced at a reasonable cost – is a proven formula for success. Nevertheless, financing an independent feature film is a tricky business. Investors, production companies, studios, and distributors in mainstream Hollywood want to be shown a fully-developed “pitch package.” So…
Step 1: Create a pitch package to present to investors and distributors that will succeed in…
Step 2: Financing The Monster of Dread End as a feature-length theatrical horror film.
WHAT MAKES UP A SUCCESSFUL PITCH PACKAGE?
This pitch package will clearly convey to our investors, content buyers, distributors and other industry colleagues the exciting nature of what the finished feature film will be, as well as provide a detailed overview of the production methods and costs in a tangible, concrete way.
• A full screenplay, approximately 110 pages;
• A breakdown and shooting schedule;
• A detailed production budget;
• A one-sheet poster;
• And, in the spirit of “a picture is worth a thousand words,” a dynamic trailer.
The Kickstarter funding will cover minimum basic costs of:
• Writing and developing the full feature film Screenplay;
• Preparing a Budget/Schedule Package for the planned feature production;
• Preparation and printing of the final pitch package;
• Manufacture of Maquette reward;
• One-Sheet Poster art;
• Kickstarter and PayPal Fees;
and The Teaser Trailer:
The Kickstarter proceeds will also cover the following:
• Cast and Crew;
• Grip/Electric Package;
• Sound Recordist;
• Props/Weapons Rental;
• Lunch Catering;
• Craft Service;
• Stop Motion Animation;
• Miscellaneous Transportation;
• Musicians and Music Recording;
• Offline Editorial;
• Sound Mix;
• Miscellaneous Expenses;
• 10% Contingency.
The estimated time frame for this entire project breaks down as follows:
Download Kickstarter pledge details into database. Contact all backers. Notify cast and crew. General organizing and planning.
Write Screenplay for feature film:
• Outline, treatment, 1st draft Notes & feedback;
• 2nd draft;
• Professional coverage and detailed notes;
• 3rd draft (final).
Write Screenplay for trailer, as extrapolated from full feature film screenplay.
• Budget, schedule, prep for trailer shoot.
• Book equipment, props, wardrobe, sets/locations.
• Feature film Breakdown, shooting schedule, and budget based on final Screenplay.
Trailer shoot: 2 day shoot with prep and wrap before and after.
• Stop motion animation: fabricate puppet, animation, compositing.
• Music: Scoring, performing/recording, pre-mix.
• Poster artwork for pitch package, based on feature script and trailer.
• Kickstarter Rewards: Sculpt and fabricate maquette for Kickstarter reward, print new Dread End comic combo, photocopy feature screenplay.
• Final mastering of trailer video, sound mix, color balance.
• Manufacture DVDs of trailer for pitch package and Kickstarter backers.
• Print pitch package elements: Overall presentation, Feature Screenplay, Feature Budget/Schedule, one-sheet poster.
Ship Kickstarter Rewards to backers.
Total: 19 weeks.
From approximately June 5, 2017 to approximately October 13, 2017.
OUR CAST AND CREW
We have assembled a professional team of talented actors and crew, many of whom have worked together in the past, making for an efficient production and a unified creative vision. Our combined experience, skill and passion will ensure the best possible script, trailer and pitch package.
The following actors have been approached directly and all have agreed to participate in the project (pending any scheduling conflicts).
The following crew members have been approached directly and all have agreed to participate in the project (pending any scheduling conflicts).
CGI animation has suffered a backlash in the eyes of the public and what was once exciting and new has lost its luster through overuse and a sense of “sameness.” Here, capitalizing on the talent and experience of several of the people involved in this project, we will create the Claw monster using classic stop motion model animation. A model of the Claw monster will benefit from the “look” of light hitting a physical object rather than what is often perceived as the “plastic” sheen of an image created in the computer.
So, in the tradition of the Willis O’Brien’s original King Kong, Ray Harryhausen’s The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, and the recent Oscar®-nominated Kubo and the Two Strings from Travis Knight and Laika Entertainment, a jointed, foam rubber model of the Claw monster will be animated against green screen and digitally composited with live action backgrounds.
THE CHIODO BROTHERS PRODUCTIONS
STOP MOTION ANIMATION and STUDIO FACILITY
We’re very excited to have the Emmy-nominated Chiodo Brothers on board to create the stop motion animation of the Claw monster for all the pulse-pounding visual effects shots in the trailer. Scenes for the trailer will film at The Chiodo Brothers’ 10,000 square foot facility. They are fully equipped for sculpting, mold making, foam rubber fabrication, make up effects, miniature sets, the actual stop motion animation, and green screen/digital compositing.
ORIGINAL ORCHESTRAL MUSIC SCORE
Composer John Massari will assemble a string quartet (live musicians, not synthesizer) accented by select solo instruments (French Horn, tympani) and a Canadian concert cellist, layered in a multi-track mix to create the full, resonating sound of a large orchestra. Often lacking in short films and “sizzle reel” trailers, a full-bodied orchestral score will compliment the visual elements for an exciting, dynamic, top flight presentation.
THE CION HD PRODUCTION CAMERA
A significant factor in our first class trailer production will be free access to the high-end CION production camera from AJA Video Systems.
The new CION 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD production camera shoots direct to edit-ready Apple ProRes 4444 at up to 4K 30fps. CION is the union of great design and functionality, described as “The Science of the Beautiful.”
REWARDS (listed above in column at right)
Highlight: Every backer (from the $25.00 level on up) will receive a copy of the new 30-page comic book The Monsters of Dread End, now being completed, that compiles for the first time: The Monster of Dread End - John Stanley’s original 10-page comic story, The Monster of Dread End - Pete Von Sholly’s 8-page re-imagining of the original story in photographic “fumetti” style, and Endless Dread, the brand new 12-page sequel by Pete Von Sholly.
OUR SPECIAL KICKSTARTER REWARD
In addition to the package of all the other Reward items, each Pledge of $500.00 or more will also receive a limited edition resin “maquette” of the Claw monster from The Monster of Dread End sculpted, cast and painted by renowned figure modeler Joe Laudati. Each maquette will be mounted on a wood base with a brass plate signed and numbered by Joe Laudati. Strictly limited to those pledges made at the top two levels.
Artist Joe Laudati works as a prototype sculptor for the model and figurine industries. He has hand-crafted templates for toys and statues, as well as many “garage” kits including Ray Harryhausen creatures (such as the Ymir from 20 Million Miles to Earth, above), sensuous heroines of fantasy cinema, and an array of dinosaurs.
OUR TOP KICKSTARTER REWARD – A STAR IS BORN!
In addition to the package of all the other Reward items, a Pledge of $1,000.00 or more means that you will appear as an Extra or in a Supporting Role in the feature film production, should the feature film get made. We will cover travel (within the continental United States), hotel, and on-set meals. (*Note: If the feature film is not produced within 18 months of the completion of the Kickstarter campaign, your Reward will revert to the $500.00 level and the balance of your pledge will be refunded.)
WHAT IF WE EXCEED THE KICKSTARTER GOAL…?
We have tried to keep the pitch package budget tight and efficient. While it’s do-able as described, and additional funding above the goal will go towards the direct production costs of the trailer and related expenses to further enhance the package.
PLACES EVERYONE! THIS WILL BE A TAKE!
Jump on board and join me and my talented cast and crew in the exciting process of creating a dynamic, thrilling presentation package!
Risks and challenges
Our entire team consists of seasoned professionals, and budget, production logistics and contingencies have been worked out in detail.
• While the “pitch package” will be completed and will add up to a sure-fire presentation, the risk will always be that the ultimate goal — financing the feature film itself — will not find backers or studio.
• While Cast and Crew listed above for the trailer have all specifically agreed to participate in the project, final participation may vary at the time of the production according to availability.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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